Yacht clubs can return to safe activity under alert level 2 following advice received from Sport New Zealand this morning.
Yachting New Zealand have been seeking clarification from Sport New Zealand, particularly after confusion surfaced around the 10-person gathering limit and how this applied to community sport.
We are now satisfied our original interpretation of the guidelines stands, as long as clubs have a detailed health and safety plan in place and meet the recommended guidelines around social distancing, hygiene and contact tracing.
This means both dinghy sailing with more than 10 boats on a start line and keelboat racing with crews of no more than 10 can be done safely. We are hopeful these numbers will be increased when alert level 2 is reviewed on May 25.
Sport New Zealand have been working very hard with us to enable clubs to get back on the water safely and in a timely manner. They have answered a handful of questions we put to them earlier in the week and their responses, together with a recently-released sector update, included the following:
“Sport and recreation activities can take place where more than 10 people are present if all participants maintain a 2m physical distance at all times and all other public health and safety requirements are in place.
“Each event or activity should create a health and safety plan. Groups that come into contact should be limited to 10 but there can be multiple groups of 10 spaced out across an open space. If individuals are not in contact or clustered in boat teams, there can be more than 10 as long as they are physically distanced.
“Contact tracing is important to know which groups / teams were together. If there are larger numbers involved in events, either being grouped in 10s or physically spaced, remember to avoid people clustering in shared spaces, around clubrooms, toilets etc. Hygiene and sanitation must be in place and all other public hygiene rules [followed].”
We also received this response around keelboat sailing and racing:
“A health and safety plan should be created to cover this. If boat crews are 10 or under this should meet the guidelines. Groups cannot come with 2m to be safe. The bigger concern is that crews do not cluster at entry / exit points or shared facilities so this would need to be carefully managed.”
Yachting New Zealand have also updated the recommendations to clubs and things they should consider to ensure safe operation.
One of the main areas to consider is the care taken at communal points. For our sport, considerations could include spacing out rigging areas, parents and coaches assisting only sailors who need help rigging, avoiding gathering at entry and exit points including carparks and marina gates and staggering launching and retrieval so no more than 10 sailors are doing this at one time.
Our race management sub-committee has also put together some guidance clubs could adopt for racing. These can be used in any notice of race or sailing instructions.
Clubs should assess what they need to do to reopen safely and shouldn’t rush to recommence activity until they are ready.
We don’t want to return to level 3, or worse, and undo all the good work New Zealanders have done so we need to continue to do our bit to make sure we look after our friends and whanau.
Be sensible. Be safe.
Yachting New Zealand chief executive